|Updated: 8/14/2012 9:18 am
||Published: 8/13/2012 9:20 pm
Every parent has fears, but Erica Sexton of Broken Arrow, worries about something that most don't have to; food.
Her specific concern is eggs and what they can do to the health of her 8-year-old daughter Elle.
"She will go into anaphylactic shock if she eats eggs, if she touches eggs she will break out in hives," Erica said.
Elle was born with an extreme allergy to eggs and their by products. Erica said the family has had to make certain dietary concessions in their home to accommodate for Elle's dietary restriction.
"I read the labels on everything, even if I have bought it before, I read it again," Erica said. The 8-year-old can't eat by-products like mayonnaise, ranch dressing, certain breads and cookies, to name a few.
Pediatrician at Hillcrest Hospital South, Dr. Scott Cyrus, said that life threatening allergies a fairly common in children. "I see a lot of patients who have allergies to peanuts, as well as tree nuts like cashews or walnuts," Dr. Cyrus said that strawberry, wheat, dairy and eggs allergies are also common.
A food allergy happens when the immune system looks at certain foods as harmful. To protect the body, chemicals like histamine are released. The chemicals that are released cause symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Dr. Cyrus said allergic reaction varies from person to person. A mild reaction would include a rash or swollen lips while a severe reaction would include wheezing or a swollen face.
Dr. Cyrus said many patients with severe allergic reactions to food carry epinephrine injectors or "epi-pens" with them at all times.
Erica carries around an epi-pen everywhere she goes and one is kept at the school. Oklahoma schools do not keep epi-pens in stock but, students are allowed to keep them with the school nurse if they have a diagnosed allergy and a prescription from their physician.
She said she works closely with the lunch room manager and the principal and credits them with helping to monitor her daughters dietary menu. "We go over what she can and can't have every week," Erica said.
Erica said she and her family can't live in fear but the allergy never is too far from their thoughts. "It's definitely life changing but something you get used to."